Fresh from leading the Barbarians against England and Wales, former Springbok Centurion John Smit and his Saracens colleagues arrived in Hong Kong this morning.
The English Premiership team is in Asia to play the APBs in a charity match at the Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday. Funds raised will go towards rebuilding schools damaged during the recent Thailand floods.
The APBs, formerly known as the Asia Pacific Barbarians, was formed in 2010 to showcase the vast array of rugby talent in Asia Pacific, with the occasional invited player from outside the region. After consultations with the world-famous Barbarian FC, the name was changed to (in the interim) APBs.
Saracens will be lead by former England skipper Steve Borthwick and the squad includes John Smit, England internationals Borthwick, Richard Wigglesworth and Hugh Vyvyan, England Saxons Adam Powell and Nils Mordt, plus a host of up-and-coming stars including Jamie George, George Kruis, James Short, Jackson Wray, Will Fraser and Mako Vunipola.
The APBs will be drawing from around 8 Pacific nations and includes the likes of Mils Muliaina (pictured below) Samoa centre Seilala Mapusua and former Japan captain and No.8 Takuro Miuchi.
Other big names in the BGC APBs squad include Welsh heroes Shane Williams and Martyn Williams, All Blacks quartet Jerry Collins, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Rico Gear and Troy Flavell, and England No.8 Nick Easter.
BGC APBs fullback Mils Muliaina is pictured during training ahead of this Saturday’s Chartis Cup clash against Saracens. Photograph by Marc Weakley/Chartis Cup
Taking a break from coach the Blues
BGC APBs coach Pat Lam believes his invitational team will have no problems gelling in time for Saturday’s Chartis Cup clash against English giants Saracens in Hong Kong.
Lam, taking a short break from coaching the Blues in Super Rugby, is confident the BGC APBs will be a force to be reckoned with come Saturday.
“Gelling won’t be a problem, the boys are all getting on well together,” he said after the squad’s first training session at So Kon Po Recreation Ground today (6 June).
“We will ensure we get the balance right and we will keep the structure pretty simple, so it is more about the players getting to know each other.
“The real key is we want to play well to uphold the APBs name. And then there is the charity aspect, with funds raised going towards the rebuilding of schools affected by the flooding in Thailand, which gives the match something extra.
“The charity angle brings it into perspective because when you play rugby at professional level it is all about winning and results, whereas this is something deeper.”
Our good friend Jed (The Jedi) Thian spoke to Pat Lam in Hong Kong this week:
BlitzBokke.com will be attending the match on Saturday so follow us on Twitter @BlitzBokke for all the latest from Hong Kong.
Add @BlitzBokke if you are on Twitter or join our FaceBook Page. View our Images on Flickr or our Sevens videos on our YouTube Channel.